Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Charter school could lose license

TAMPA — A charter school founded to serve homeless and at-risk students in Hillsborough County could soon lose its license to operate as a public school.

In an April 17 letter, superintendent MaryEllen Elia told Metropolitan Ministries Academy she was recommending the School Board terminate its charter due to subpar academic performance. Last year the school's grade slipped from C to F, based on student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

But Elia told school officials the district would wait for the results of this year's FCAT before taking further action.

"The expectation for our children can be no less than from an extremely wealthy home, where they can read by the time they are one (year old,)" Elia said. "We want to help, but we also have to be accountable for every one of the children. Given that, we are all waiting anxiously."

Under state law, districts must notify charter schools of a termination 90 days before school boards take formal action. Charter schools are public and receive state and local funds, but have more freedom than regular public schools to develop policies and programs.

On Wednesday, board members and school officials met for what the agenda described as an informal hearing on the "potential termination" of the school's charter.

Board members showered the school with praise for its work on behalf of homeless and needy children.

"You guys are phenomenal," said member Susan Valdes. "I know the good work and heart that Metropolitan Ministries has."

Opened in 1998, the school serves 78 children in kindergarten through fifth grade at the YMCA on East Palm Avenue. Of those, 21 students this year are homeless and live in the organization's shelter, while 58 students live in the surrounding neighborhood, said principal Thom Laux.

And with the economy struggling, officials are planning for an influx of additional homeless students.

Laux said the school has added tutors and a part-time guidance counselor, as well as extracurricular activities like music and ballet with the Patel Conservatory.

He has decided to step down this summer as principal for personal reasons, said Preston Farrior, the academy's board chairman. The organization is considering hiring a retired Hillsborough principal to lead the school.

Speaking after the meeting, Elia said she was hopeful those efforts would bear fruit.

"We need to see how the students do before any decisions are made," she said.

If the school continues to struggle, Elia said it is possible the district could forge a partnership or other arrangement.

"There are all sorts of options," she said. "I'm committed to the kids."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Charter school could lose license 05/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards

    Business

    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

]

  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say

    Crime

    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.